Academy coach Miguel Llera has challenged the youth team players participating in tomorrow night’s Derbyshire FA Senior Challenge Cup final at the Impact Arena (7.45pm), to be ready for the challenge posed by opponents Alfreton Town.
Llera will oversee the match, that will feature members of the first team squad, and he’s also challenged the senior players involved to stake a claim for a place in caretaker manager Ian Evatt’s squad for the remaining three Sky Bet League Two matches.
Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Llera said: “We don’t know exactly how many players from the first team can be involved and I’m sure that plenty of youth team players will be, because they deserve to be.
“We reached the final for them, and we’ll see how many players can be involved, it’s going to be a mixture of players, but one thing that people have to know is that we’re going there to win the game.
“With the situation that the club is in at the moment, I think that bringing that title to the club is important.
“It’s a great chance to prove how good they (the academy scholars) are, the players are knocking on the door of the first team and maybe they can leave on loan and compete against adults.
“And at the same time it’s a great test for the first team players to prove that they want to stay at the club and show the commitment and desire that we expect from them.”
The Spireites XI will face an Alfreton team, who’ve won their last two fixtures in the Vanarama National League North, a 3-1 success at Brackley, and last Saturday’s 1-0 win over FC United of Manchester.
And with that in mind, the Spaniard is expecting a tough fixture at the Impact Arena.
“We know that they are a confident team and that they are physical. We’re playing away at their stadium and we’re ready for the battle,” said Llera.
Tomorrow’s final will be the third match in seven days for some of the club’s academy scholars, who’ve suffered agonising one goal defeats to both Rotherham United and local rivals Mansfield Town in their last two league outings.
The most recent fixture, saw the Stags come back to win 2-1 at St George’s Park, Sheffield Graves, after Ify Ofoegbu had put the Spireites in front in the first half.
But despite the nature of their loss, Llera insisted that we was happy with the performance put in by his players.
“Obviously the results were disappointing, [On Saturday] we were leading up until the 80th minute and I was disappointed that we conceded two goals in the last seven minutes,” he remarked.
“But it was a lesson for the players, because we were the better side against the team top of the league, who are winning every game 2-0,3-0,4-0. We competed really well and were on top of them, we didn’t let them play.
“The only way that they beat us with long balls and putting long throws into the box, because they’re a really strong team.
“I’m proud for the players, because we finished the game with six U16s left on the pitch, it’s a lesson for them and good for their development. The result wasn’t the best, but I’m really happy with what they’ve been doing at the moment, and I’m looking for them to take on board what happened for the future.”